Friday

22nd Nov 2019

Juncker fund gets political go-ahead

  • French construction site: The fund is due final approval in June (Photo: marcovdz)

The EU's signature plan for a €315bn fund to create jobs took final shape on Thursday (28 May) as negotiators reached a deal on how it should operate and how investment projects should be chosen.

The project – the brainchild of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker – represents the focus of EU energies to promote economic growth and tackle record-high unemployment rates.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

"I am very happy and satisfied we reached a deal. Let's get to work and implement this plan as quickly as possible,” said EU budget commissioner Georgieva after the 13 hours of talks while her colleague Jyrki Katainen, in charge of selling the idea to investors, said he was counting on the fund being “up and running” in autumn.

The law to establish the fund was tabled by the commission in January and member states and European Parliament deputies have been tussling ever since over key details such as where the EU money for the fund should come from.

MEPs, who had made veiled threats to de-rail the process during the course of negotiations, welcomed the deal.

“I think it is a very good agreement,” said the head of the economic affairs committee Roberto Gualtieri, while German centre-left deputy Udo Bullmann, one of the parliament’s negotiators, said the EP had strengthened the fund’s “internal structure, governing culture and economic orientation”.

Under the compromise, MEPs will have a say on who will be head and deputy head of the fund; a scoreboard will be set up to make it clear on what criteria a given project was chosen for funding and a set of investment guidelines has been drawn up.

One of the disputed issues was whether nuclear power stations could get money from the Juncker fund, formally known as the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

"We have positive lists," said Bullmann referring to broad investment guidelines, "where we say what kind of energy infrastructure instruments should be foreseen for the future investment. I hardly think nuclear energy subsidies [will] be financed by this fund".

MEPs also managed to reduce - by €1bn - the amount of money taken from the research and infrastructure budgets, by using up unallocated spending left over in 2014 and expected to be left over in 2015.

"I think we did a pretty good job in hindering politicisation and micromanagement," said Bullmann. "Now we need to find the right projects," said EU research commissioner Carlos Moedas.

Under the agreement, payments made by member states towards the fund will not be considered when the commission is looking at the debt rules underpinning the euro.

The political deal must still be formally approved by member states - expected on 19 June - and the parliament as a whole - in a vote on 24 June.

The Juncker Fund is set up with an initial €21bn - from the EU budget and the European Investment Bank - to enable lending to the tune of €63bn.

Private investors are then expected to take the total funding capacity to €315bn. The main idea behind the fund is that it supports projects that would normally be considered too risky.

Katainen, for his part, has been travelling around EU member states to try and drum up interest among investors.

Ministers clash over Juncker fund

Germany’s finance minister warned that his government would not make extra contributions to the EU’s planned €300 billion investment vehicle, as ministers clashed on how the programme should be set up.

Interview

EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration

Europe's obsession with migration from Africa means it risks losing out the continent's potential when it comes to trade, says the EU's ambassador to the African Union, Ranier Sabatucci. "Africa is a growing continent, it is the future," he says.

EU agrees 2020 budget deal

EU governments and the parliament agreed in marathon talks ino next year's budget - which will boost spending on climate, border protection, and the European satellite system. It will also be a benchmark if there is no long-term budget deal.

EU and China agree to defend 'gastronomic jewels'

Manchego cheese, Panjin rice and Polish vodka will all be protected under a new EU-China agreeement. But the two trading giants continue to struggle over other trade-related deals.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament votes on new commission next week
  2. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  3. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  4. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  5. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  6. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  7. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  8. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'

Opinion

Why von der Leyen must put rights at core of business

Ursula von der Leyen's in-tray must include those European executives on trial for systematic workplace harassment, the break-up of European slavery rings, and allegations of European companies' abuse in palm oil, including child labour, land grabs, and deforestation.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution
  2. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  3. New EU financial instruments needed
  4. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  5. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  6. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  7. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  8. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us